Reality Winner, the 25-year-old alleged NSA leaker, was arrested on Saturday for reportedly sharing highly confidential data with the press. Her parents spoke to Anderson Cooper Tuesday night, expressing shock that their daughter was arrested. Her parents called her a “patriot” for reportedly leaking classified information to The Intercept.
“She was very scared,” Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told Cooper. “They took her by surprise. She was not expecting any of this.”
Following her arrest on Saturday, it is being speculated that Winner could be charged with leaking sensitive information and could face up to 10 years in prison. The Department of Justice also released a statement after Winner’s arrest.
“A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).”
“On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”
Recently, reports have also surfaced that Winner had ties to the certain Muslim civil rights’ groups and was also an active member of the “Resistance” movement.
“I didn’t know what company she worked for,” Winner-Davis told Cooper. “I don’t know what she did when she went to work.”
During the discussion with Cooper, Winner-Davis said that her daughter had called her before her arrest on Saturday and told her that she may be in trouble. She also revealed that she spoken to her after her arrest.
“She was afraid she was going to disappear, that [the government was] going to make her disappear,” Winner-Davis said. “And she felt like she needed to give them what they were asking for at the time.”
Gary Davis, her stepfather, added that the way Winner is being treated now is “disheartening.”
“She served her country, she is a veteran,” Davis said. “She’s a patriot, and to see her maligned and slandered in the media is very disheartening.”
Winner-Davis is of the belief that her daughter is “ready to pay the price” if she is guilty.
“My biggest fear in all of this is that she’s not going to get a fair trial,” Winner-Davis added. “She’s going to be made an example of … I’m terrified for her right now because of the news, the climate, the social media.”
Winner-Davis also denied she had any knowledge of her daughter’s purported ties to alt-left groups.
“She’s never ever given me any kind of indication that she was in favor of that at all,” Winner-Davis said. “I don’t know how to explain it.”